Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blog Anniversary, Ribs and a Tribute to Dad


I can't believe I've been doing this for a year now. A year ago today I began my food blogging journey and here I am today; 73 posts later, countless recipes, exciting food events and many new friends along the way. Above all, a little clearer vision and a hope that I'll still be enjoying this for many years to come.

In my first post last year I paid tribute to two of my culinary inspirations, my Mom and my Grandma. Today, coming off a great Father's Day weekend, I think it's appropriate to pay tribute to another inspiration, in the kitchen as well as life; My Dad.

Growing up, my Mom was certainly the owner of the kitchen, cooking up some of the most amazing food for her six boys, but my Dad was never far off. While he certainly owned the grill, I never saw him afraid to jump in and participate in creating a meal alongside my Mom. Whenever Dad decided to cook we knew we'd be getting something good, whether it be shrimp or steak, my Dad could make just about anything taste good off the grill. Never afraid to experiment, he could also create an amazing dish out of his head like last years Chili he created for the Yale Chili Competition.

Being the third of six boys, you'd think there would have been a good chance of me feeling neglected growing up. Yet, I can't recall one time ever feeling like I was left out or that my Dad was unavailable to me. He always seemed to be there, whether it was getting us up early in the morning or picking us up after late night play practice. For the most part he was even the "cool" dad that you wouldn't mind showing up to pick you up or talk with your friends.

Even more important were the life lessons I have learned from my Dad. He taught his sons by example to honor and respect their mother and other women. His love and concern for those around him is always apparent in the messages of support and the way he serves those in his life. People flock to him for guidance and friendship (evidenced by his nearly 2,000 Facebook friends). I hope that I can continue to learn from his example and be the kind of father that he was to me, to my own beautiful children.

Now for the Father's day we just celebrated with our own family, I discovered how well my wife truly knows me. She asked me if I preferred that she make me dinner that night or she could buy whatever ingredients I wanted and I could create a meal. Not that I doubt that she could have cooked a great dinner, but I went with the ingredients option and we had a great feast (she still cooked me a great breakfast herself). In homage to my own Dad, we fired up the grill and came up with some amazing ribs that would make any Dad feel proud. There's just something fulfilling about seeing a rack of ribs laying across a fiery grill and then experiencing the tender, fall off the bone meat.

The great thing about these ribs is that you cook them for about 2 hours in the oven and then they are cooked on the grill for just about 10-15 minutes, so it makes it really easy to prepare them in advance and then get dinner on the table in just a few minutes. I cooked them early in the morning before church and then left them in the fridge until we were just about ready to eat. They come off the grill piping hot and sticky from the amazing glaze, yet still tender and juicy.

Brown Sugar and Spice Glazed Ribs
adapted from Bon Appetit

Basting sauce
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/4 cup coke
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons apple cider
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
1 tablespoon (packed) golden brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 2- to 2 1/4-pound racks baby back pork ribs

1 large onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
6 thin rounds peeled fresh ginger
1 1/4 cups apple cider

Basting sauce
Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl to blend.

Mix first 6 ingredients in small bowl. Using small sharp knife, loosen membrane from underside of each rib rack and pull off (or score membrane). Rub 1 tablespoon seasoning mix into each side of each rib rack. Place ribs in large roasting pan. Cover and chill at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Lift ribs from pan. Scatter onion, cinnamon stick, and ginger in pan. Pour in cider. Return ribs, meat side down, to pan; cover pan with foil. Roast ribs until meat is tender and begins to pull away from bones, about 2 hours. Uncover; cool at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill ribs until heated through and slightly charred, about 5 minutes per side. Brush generously on all sides with basting sauce. Grill until sauce becomes sticky glaze, about 3 minutes longer per side. Transfer rib racks to cutting board. Cut racks between bones into individual ribs. Arrange on platter and serve, passing remaining sauce separately.


  1. Happy Blogiversery! Mine is coming up as well! Those ribs look superb. I know what you mean about wanting to cook your own celebratory dinners!!! I made a feast on my birthday.

  2. happy anniversary and looking forward for more great recipes. your ribs looks stunning =)

  3. That was one of the kindest things that I've ever been given. To have my son pay a tribute like that makes me feel.... well, it's beyond words. Thank you Matt and may you have wonderful times with your family, like I did with mine!

  4. This made me cry. :) What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing it.